[News] Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 11 10:53:54 EDT 2016


https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israel-imposes-travel-ban-bds-co-founder-omar-barghouti 



  Israel imposes travel ban on BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti

Ali Abunimah <https://electronicintifada.net/people/ali-abunimah> 10 May 
2016

Israel has imposed an effective travel ban on Omar Barghouti 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/omar-barghouti>, one of the 
founders of the Palestinian movement for boycott, divestment and 
sanctions (BDS).

This follows explicit threats made against him by Israeli government 
ministers.

Israel has officially refused to renew Barghouti’s travel document, a 
move that the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) said “amounts to 
a travel ban and is an escalation of its attacks on Palestinian human 
rights defenders who nonviolently advocate for Palestinian rights under 
international law.”

Sarah Leah Whitson 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/sarah-leah-whitson>, executive 
director of Human Rights Watch’s 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/human-rights-watch> Middle East and 
North Africa division, told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s 
refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to 
punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political 
activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.”

“Sadly, Israel has used this sort of control to arbitrarily ban many 
Palestinians from traveling, as well as to ban international human 
rights monitors, journalists and activists from entering Israel and the 
occupied Palestinian territories,” Whitson added.


    Undeterred

In a press release on Tuesday, the BNC said that Barghouti, who lives in 
Akka, in the north of present-day Israel, “has Israeli permanent 
residency and requires an Israeli travel document to be able to travel 
in and out of Palestine/Israel.”

The BNC warned that “Israel’s decision not to grant a renewal of the 
travel document on baseless bureaucratic pretenses is being viewed by 
human rights experts as the first step towards revoking Barghouti’s 
permanent residency.”

Barghouti’s immediate reaction was: “I am unnerved but certainly 
undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my 
people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is 
now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the 
movement,” BNC general coordinator Mahmoud Nawajaa said.

“After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots 
level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring Western 
states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten 
civil liberties at large,” Nawajaa added, in reference to a raft of 
anti-BDS legislation <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/anti-bds-laws> 
in the US and several European states.

“By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from travelling and threatening 
him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to 
in order to stop the spread of the nonviolent BDS movement for 
Palestinian freedom, justice and equality,” Nawajaa said.


    Threats

The Israeli move follows threats made against Barghouti and other 
Palestinian human rights defenders by top Israeli government ministers 
in March.

Interior minister Aryeh Deri 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/aryeh-deri> had explicitly 
threatened <http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4784302,00.html> 
to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his 
resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against 
Israel in the most serious manner.”

Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz 
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/yisrael-katz> called for a campaign 
of “targeted civil eliminations” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli 
intelligence. The Hebrew term Katz used was similar to the Israeli term 
for “targeted assassinations.”

And Gilad Erdan <https://electronicintifada.net/tags/gilad-erdan>, the 
Israeli minister in charge of combating BDS, also said that activists 
including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

At the time, Amnesty International strongly condemned these threats 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/amnesty-condemns-israels-threats-against-bds-activists>, 
warning that “an escalation of acts of intimidation by the government 
and attacks and threats by settlers and other non-state actors have 
created an increasingly dangerous environment” for human rights 
defenders in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The group expressed particular concern for the “safety and liberty of 
Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti, and other boycott, 
divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists, following calls alluding to 
threats, including of physical harm and deprivation of basic rights, 
made by Israeli ministers.”

EU representatives, by contrast, refused to condemn the Israeli threats 
<https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/eu-envoy-refuses-condemn-israeli-threats-against-bds-activists>, 
sending Israel a tacit signal that it could proceed with its repression 
campaign.


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